Obama Signing the Israel Security Cooperation act, Reuters
Headline: U.S. visa waiver bill stymied over Arab Americans entering Israel
To Read: Naomi Schafer Riley takes a look at the interesting world of interfaith marriages in the US Muslim community:
When it comes to intermarriage, Muslims are becoming the new Jews.
About a century ago, when hundreds of thousands of Jews were immigrating to the United States, only about 1 percent, by some estimates, married non-Jews. Now, about 30 percent of Jews are married to someone outside the faith. American Muslims are going through a similar transition, one that could profoundly change the Muslim experience in the United States.
Quote: “There are thousands of people with Arab American backgrounds who visit Israel each year and they face far less hassle than Israeli Christians, Jews or Muslims trying to visit the United States", Congressman Brad Sherman defending allegations about the US-Israeli Visa waiver program.
Number: 15, the percentage of Americans who approve of the way Congress is doing its job.
Headline: Turkey nixes NATO meeting with Israel
To Read: Why are Israelis so happy? According to this Daily Beast article, it might very well be because of all the war around them-
And this has created a fascinating psychological paradox, one that has been studied extensively by Professor Zahava Solomon of Tel Aviv University. On one hand, as she told me in a recent phone interview, the culture of conflict has made Israelis constantly aware of their potential demise; on the other it has made them virtually fearless.
Think about it.
How would you act if you woke up every morning thinking that this day could be your last? Or at least took a moment to imagine how you would be eulogized at your funeral? (An exercise that Stephen Covey recommended in his wildly popular “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” although admittedly “live in a war zone” did not make the list.)
The point is this: you'd enjoy the day you had.
And if you continued to survive until the next morning, this daily exercise might develop into a mantra for how you lived your life. And you might bother to take that beach day, or spend more time with your family. You might grow a pair and launch that startup you've been thinking about (Boom: Silicon Wadi) or stop a beautiful woman on the street and insist that she have lunch with you, or park on the sidewalk if there was no other parking within a five-block radius. You might climb a mountain, or go scuba diving or backpack in South America for a year. All things that Israelis do in droves, and that, in my opinion, probably lead to a more fulfilling existence.
Quote: “I am pleased that the Russian Jewish leadership understand what some of America’s Jews sometimes forget”, Israel’s Deputy foreign minister, Ze’ev Elkin siding with the Russian Jewish leaders against US Jewish leaders.
Number: 57, the percentage of Israelis who support a unilateral Israeli move to set borders.
The Middle East
Headline: Symbolic Syrian mosque destroyed; activists warn of phosphorus bombs
To Read: Political science professor Steven David considers the idea a weak Iranian regime might be prone to using nuclear weapons:
Either Iranian leaders are crazy, in which case they cannot be allowed to have nuclear weapons, or they are not, making a nuclear-armed Iran tolerable. But what if Iranian leaders are rational yet would contemplate a nuclear strike against Israel or the United States anyway? This is precisely the situation we might expect if the Iranian leadership finds itself on the brink of being toppled from within. Facing the end of their rule, and possibly their lives, Iranian leaders quite possibly could choose to lash out against the United States or Israel in a parting shot for posterity.
Quote: “A potential Israeli attack against Iran with an objective of destroying its scientific and nuclear facilities is sheer madness. Its consequences are disastrous and uncontrollable. Iran will not stand idly by in the face of such aggression. This can entail a chain of violence that may lead to World War III”, Iran’s Ambassador to France Ali Ahani, warning Israel and the US against attacking his country.
Number: $3000, the monthly amount of money the PA gives to Palestinian parents of long time security prisoners.
The Jewish World
Headline: American Jewish Committee Cuts Israel Staff Amid Tensions
To Read: Rabbi Rachel Sabath believes that the Kotel issue is about the future of the Jewish People, not only about Israeli society:
While I have, over the last 25 years, participated in their powerful prayer services, I have also been a public critic of their tactics and the attention that their efforts have received; don’t we have bigger problems? Don’t we have so many more urgent priorities as Israelis, as women and as Jews?
Today my position has changed. While I continue to work on many other pressing concerns I have come to understand that the debate today regarding Women of the Wall is one way that the Jewish people are asking the three core questions of time, three questions of ethics and leadership. I now better understand why this originally very small group of women has gained so many supporters throughout the world: because the Kotel, the “Wailing Wall,” is not another issue of Israel struggling between being Jewish and democratic. The Kotel is about Jewish Peoplehood. It pulls at the hearts and minds and souls of Jews over time and space.
Quote: “I think I’m closing the circle here”, Judah Pearl, father of Daniel Pearl, about holding a memorial ceremony for his son in Jerusalem, the city where his son had his Bar-Mitzvah.
Number: 40, the number of Jews left in Egypt.